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In Cold Blood

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  334,436 ratings  ·  8,666 reviews
Truman Capote's In Cold Blood is both a masterpiece of journalism and a powerful crime thriller. Inspired by a 300-word article in The New York Times, Capote spent six years exploring and writing the story of Kansas farmer Herb Clutter, his family and the two young killers who brutally murdered them. In Cold Blood created a genre of novelistic non-fiction and made Capote's ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published by New American Library (first published January 1st 1965)
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Casey 'In Cold Blood' was groundbreaking in melding journalism with storytelling, the first "nonfiction novel. It is not farfetched to think prejudice and…more'In Cold Blood' was groundbreaking in melding journalism with storytelling, the first "nonfiction novel. It is not farfetched to think prejudice and stereotypes about homosexual men of that era, and even now, would lead to accusations he couldn't stop himself from engaging in sex with a murderer upon whom he is reporting. There is proof some of what Capote claimed to be fact was exaggerated and in some instances total fabrication, but these actions are everywhere in journalism, as well as memoirs of course. Regardless of what happened, whatever writing this book did to Capote, it ruined him, which is a loss to anyone who thought he might have more to contribute...(less)
Betty Confetti The most critical way is holding back exactly WHO committed the murders (i.e., role of Perry v. Dick) and how it was done. We learn about the crime…moreThe most critical way is holding back exactly WHO committed the murders (i.e., role of Perry v. Dick) and how it was done. We learn about the crime scene and we read speculation by the detectives as to what the crime scene reveals before it is actually revealed at the end. But the book is also interesting in that, for example, we learn that both men were executed before actually reading a step-by-step description of each's final hours. Overall, this book taps into a natural interest, as well, in understanding WHY a murder was committed. In our day, we have so many crime shows and we see so many stories profiled about murder mysteries. But often, WHY a murder was committed is never answered. A perfect example of this is the Adam Lanza mass murder in Connecticut. Or, cases where the killer has lawyered up and never answers questions. Capote answers the question of WHY and he does it through the voice of Perry and Dick. We learn much of the pathology in a way that is uniquely graphic for the year 2015. We just don't get that level of detail about these sorts of sensational cases. The public has an intense interest in murder mysteries much as they do related to airplane crashes. If it could happen to so and so, then it could happen to me. We feel that way also about murders of people like the Clutters. A convergence of events that lead to opportunity, evil, and motive. What is also fascinating for a current day reader is how much issues of the day (deterrence, psychiatric abnormalities) were relevant when the Clutter murders occurred. Capote caps all of this off with wonderfully descriptive and clever writing. He is able to truly capture the personalities of the people profiled--the caretaker living on the Clutter property. We UNDERSTAND why he didn't hear the gunshots....his baby was crying. We can visualize these 2 psychopaths stopping to eat at a diner and ordering what they stuff in their mouths. The writing is riveting, and to me, it is a combination of all of these things that tap into the commodity known as suspense to propel the reader forward(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 30, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: On the Southern Literary Trail
Shelves: horror
"How much money did you get from the Clutters?"
"Between forty and fifty dollars."


HickokSmith

Top Picture Hickock, Richard Eugene (WM)28 KBI 97 093; FBI 859 273 A. Address: Edgerton, Kansas. Birthdate 6-6-31 Birthplace K.C., Kans. Height: 5-10 Weight: 175 Hair: Blond. Eyes: Blue. Build: Stout. Comp: Ruddy. Occup: Car Painter. Crime: Cheat & Defr. & Bad Checks. Paroled: 8-13-59 By: So. K.C.K.

Bottom Picture Smith, Perry Edward (WM) 27-59. Birthplace: Nevada. Height: 5-4. Weight: 156 Hair: D. Brn. Crim
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Stephen
emerson-1v2

PART 1: STEVE’S REVIEW

4.0 to 4.5 stars. Written over a period of 7 years and published in 1966, this novel, while not technically the first “true crime” non-fiction novel, is credited (correctly) with establishing the genre and being the progenitor of today's true crime novel. I would certainly agree that most of the other true crime novels that I have read followed almost the exact "blue print" laid out by Capote in this book. That is quite a testament to the technical excellence of this novel
...more
Amy Galaviz
After I read it, I looked up pictures of the Clutter family, and just stared for about five minutes. They endured what is probably everyone’s worst fear.

Having never heard anything of the Clutter murders prior to reading this book, the experience of reading it was intense, gripping, and suspenseful from beginning to end. Capote, with his impartial writing style, relayed facts and details in such a way as to give a complete character illustration of everyone involved: from each of the Clutters, t
...more
Jason
It is clear from reading In Cold Blood that not only is Philip Seymour Hoffman an excellent writer, but he is also an in-depth researcher. Every line in this book is painstakingly detailed and therein, as they say, is the devil. Well, the devil had me hooked from start to finish.

Beginning with a day-in-the-life of the Clutter family shortly before four of its members were slain, Mr. Hoffman presents the real-life tale of the murders (as well as its aftermath) in a somewhat nonlinear fashion, ski
...more
Jason
Within 10 minutes of finishing In Cold Blood you'll be on the internet searching for pictures of the killers and victims of this real world multiple-slaying narrated brilliantly by Truman Capote. The photos are there, and like a voyeur, you'll be drawn, captivated, needing to see the mug shots, the murdered family, the courtroom stills, the crime scene, each room that held a body with a head blown open like a busted melon.

Capote breathes such realism into the characters that all you'll need to m
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 05, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 501, 1001-core, crime
A couple of weeks back, a disgruntled former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza from the Manila Police District shot and killed eight Hong Kong tourists ending the hostage crisis drama that lasted for around 10 hours. This took place at the Quirino Grandstand in the heart of Manila, Philippines. The whole nation was stunned while watching the images unfolding on TV screens. The whole world watched with us as the events are covered by CNN. Mendoza's demand was for him to get his job back. He was ab ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
At first I wasn't going to compose a review about this book. Considering the adapted-to-screen version, the biographical film centering around this period in the author's life, the seemingly infinite number of editions printed over the last 40+ years, the massive hype surrounding the murders/murderers even today, the more than likely THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of reviews already written about the novel, and the general rock-stardom that IS Truman Capote, it seemed about as pointless as dropping a p ...more
Stepheny


Holcomb, Kansas November 15, 1959


(Herbert, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon)

Four of the six members of the Clutter family were bound, gagged and murdered in their home. Herb and Bonnie and two of their four children-Nancy age 16 and Kenyon age 15. The family was well-liked within the community and was generally known for being “good people”.


Two parolees had heard that Mr. Clutter was a man of wealth and that he had a safe tucked away inside his home.


( Perry Edward Smith)


(Richard Hickcock)

These two men
...more
Rolls
Oct 23, 2014 Rolls rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tru crime fans - get it?
Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" is a highly disconcerting read. After painting an idyllic scene we'd expect from the Midwestern setting evil makes it's presence felt. The blood is chilled and the heart gripped as a result.

As everyone must know by now this is considered the first nonfiction novel. All the bare facts of this story actually took place. A family of four was indeed murdered in their home by two unknown assailants on 14 November 1959. What made this book innovative was the fact that C
...more
Jeremiah
I originally thought this book would be a page turner on hypothermia. Being that thermoregulation keeps human blood at about 100 degrees, and hypothermia sets in at the high 90's, I assumed "cold" blood would be around 60 degrees...meaning instant death.

However, I did completely misjudge the book and its subject. Well played, Mr. Capote...well played.
Reev Robledo
Capote paints perfect pictures of every character. You can almost feel them breathing right beside you. Their thoughts, their mannerisms, their physique, their psyche, etc. Bravo.

He painstakingly describes every detail—with thousands of commas and dashes preceding thousands of commas and dashes—his keen sense of observation (and exaggeration) is both impressive and tiring at the same time. I felt that Truman probably held the details of every interview close to his heart hence a lot of unnecessa
...more
Amanda
In 1959, four members of the Clutter family (Herbert, the father; Bonnie, the mother; Nancy, the popular teenage daughter; and Kenyon, the reserved and quiet son) were tied up in separate rooms of their own home and shot in the head. All of this took place in the Mayberry-esque town of Holcomb, Kansas (a poster child for "things like that don't happen here"), and terrified the local residents. There was little evidence, no clear motive, and a good chance that those responsible would never be app ...more
Lyn
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was described by its author as a non-fiction novel.

The novel was first published in 1965 and at the time this style of writing, perhaps even the template for a new genre, was fresh and new and bold. Almost 50 years later and the disturbing images are as fresh, vibrant and malevolent as when the ink was wet.

The style of writing has no doubt inspired generations of writers since, but their imitation has done little to diminish the power of Capote’s work. Whether it
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4.75* of five

BkC13) IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote: As good as it gets. Only really good thing he wrote.

The first statement being unassailable, I'll focus on the second.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is fun, and a little bit risqué, but deathless literature? Even a well-made novella? Not so much. Other Voices, Other Rooms? A roman à clef that, because it dealt with hoMOsexuals (plural) in 1948, was much tutted over and hollered about. Reading it in the 21st century, one is struck at just how dre
...more
Jean
As an English reader I had not heard of the Clutter massacre, and all I knew about Truman Capote was his novel "Breakfast at Tiffany's". It took a while before I recognised this novel as truly great. The 1950's domesticity did not appeal to me. It seemed alien, claustrophobic, gender-specific and rather dull. But after a while I realised the genius in describing the setting of this time and place to the minutest detail.

The "New York Times" calls In Cold Blood

"The best documentary account of an
...more
Checkman
This is the first book that I've ever read for the specific purpose of reviewing it for Goodreads. I've been curious about the book for many years, but for some reason I've always found some reason not to read it. Well in 2011 I ran out of excuses and dived in.

First of all let me state that this was a very easy read. It moves along at a good clip and never drags. Well not quite true. It drags somewhat when Capote spends several pages covering Perry Smith's background. There is a touch of infatu
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Carol
In Cold Blood is a very detailed account of the November 15, 1959 brutal murders of four members of the Cutter family residing in Holcomb, Kansas. This gripping and informative narrative describes the actual murder, investigation, eventual capture of Hickock and Smith, as well as their trial and executions. A sad true-crime story, but worthwhile historical read.
Steve
Another instance in which a book prevented me from sleeping; I stayed up almost all night reading this one. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it is a very compelling look at life in the American Plains in the late 1950s, as well as into the American justice system of the time.

The dark corner of almost every bookstore is the True Crime section, shelved with scores mass-market paperbacks with dark covers and shocking fluorescent-lettered titles, promising true-to-life stories of murder and mayhem, com
...more
Chantal
Oh Truman Capote, what have you done to me? I don’t generally read true crime and yet you had me gripped. I felt compelled to read every detail of the murders even though I felt sick. I abhorred those men. And then, then!? You had me feel empathy for them and sadness at their fate – well mainly Perry but still. I think I need a lie-down.

This is one of those books that’s always on the lists of "must read" classics, which ironically often has the effect of putting me off. So this had been gatherin
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Martha Matthews
Meticulous reconstruction of the brutal murders of a helpless family, with an emphasis on the movements of the killers after the crime and their eventual convictions and executions. Felt like the source material was doing the driving, not the author. In fact, I became tired of slogging through page after page of first-hand accounts from the killers, their family members, and their former cell-mates - a pitiable bunch.
Jim
It's a pity that this book was out there for so long and I just got around to reading it. Capote doesn't use the typical murder/non-fiction ploy of maximizing gore and downplaying the character sketches; he makes sure that you are well introduced to the principal participants and, I think, tries to drum up some sympathy for the culprits in the case.

(view spoiler)
...more
Kristin ❋extols death with luminescent brilliance❋



A-Z Challenge with Karly and Jess

c = Capote, Truman

3.5 stars

Interesting read for sure, but a little dry and slow. To be fair, I don't read a lot of non-fiction for this reason. Maybe I watch and read too many gruesome things that this one seemed rather tame. Sad yes, but there are so many sickos out there that I guess I was expecting more than two sociopathic derelicts.

I did find some interesting articles after reading the book claiming that this novel wasn't as accurate as Capote claimed it to
...more
Shannon Brennan
We've all heard quite a lot about (from?) Truman Capote these past 12 months. Between Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote and what's-his-name's (Toby Jones') performance in Infamous, it's rather difficult to even crack the spine of this over-explicated text without hearing the faint cackle of new-york-high-society-types, or picturing Mr. Capote himself, before a crowd, holding the book (a tome, in my mental image) above his head, in that fantastic anecdote about the primacy of the text. So, perhaps, ...more
Mariel
Mar 23, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: reader meet author
Recommended to Mariel by: eskimos
Morrissey once said that Truman Capote wasn't so much a writer than someone who wrote down stuff that happened ("He was funny though". That's the only exact part of the quote I remember, not having 100% conversational recall). I wouldn't ever want to pin down Morrissey to one thing he ever said (the man changes his mind a lot). I think about Truman Capote and his party boy reputation, what he was pinned down to and feel sad there's gotta be an angle to look for at all. For me this book is from a ...more
Regina
3ish stars. I can see how this book was startling, disturbing and new when it was published. I get why it was an award winner several decades ago. I am not sure if In Cold Blood stands the test of time.

In Cold Blood is a true crime non fiction book centered around a horrific set of murders that took place during the middle of the twentieth century in the middle of the United States -- rural Kansas. It was a crime unlike anything the small town had seen before. In Cold Blood tells the story of t
...more
Martine
Jan 19, 2008 Martine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like a good crime story with some lyricism in it
I don't know why I waited so long after seeing and liking Capote to read the book on which the film was partly based, but I'm glad I finally got around to it, as In Cold Blood is a magnificent read. The first ever true-crime novel (or 'non-fiction novel' as Capote himself called it), In Cold Blood tells the story of the quadruple murder that shook the Kansas community of Holcomb in 1959 and which Capote then spent six years investigating, talking to the bereaved villagers, the detectives who wor ...more
Paul
I was quite surprised how well this held up after being written 50 years ago. The times they are a-changing; it was certainly a more innocent era then, when the consumption of alcohol was severely frowned upon and teenagers were renown for baking cherry pies. Still, this clean-cut atmosphere serves to make the brutal murder of the upstanding Clutter family more shocking, sending the small town of Holcomb reeling in disbelief and fear. The net score of the homicidal home invasion: 42 dollars and ...more
Chrissie
Before starting this book I didn't want to delve into the details but wanted to understand why some reviewers say this is fiction and others classify it as non-fiction. Wiki to the rescue! I am only copying the relevant information that answers this question:

"Some critics consider Capote's work the original non-fiction novel, although other writers had already explored the genre, such as Rodolfo Walsh in Operación Masacre (1957). The book examines the complex psychological relationship between
...more
Michael
In 1959 a farmer from Holcomb, Kansas was killed along with his wife and two of his four children by a couple of two-bit thieves. This brutal crime spawned a desperate search for the killers who left bloody footprints at the murder scene. From petty crime to mass murder, In Cold Blood tells the story from murder to the gallows where they were executed by hanging.

In the Truman Capote literary masterpiece, it is easy to consider In Cold Blood a crime novel; it has shades of pulp and southern gothi
...more
Ashley
It's considered a nonfiction novel but it is also an expository tale about the nature of American violence. The town is all-American, the murdered family is all-American and the class divisions, lack of compassion, and the spirit of revenge are also distinctly American. What's so disturbing about the book is the sympathy you can't help but feel for Perry Smith, who actually fired the shots that killed all four Clutters. It's transmitted through Capote who found somewhat of a demented friendship ...more
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Danske Læsere / D...: JUNI 2015: Krimi/Spændning - In Cold Blood 2 14 May 24, 2015 02:14PM  
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Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.

He was born as Truman Streckfus Persons to a salesman Archulus Persons
...more
More about Truman Capote...
Breakfast at Tiffany's Other Voices, Other Rooms A Christmas Memory Music for Chameleons The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories

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“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “out there.” 340 likes
“It is no shame to have a dirty face- the shame comes when you keep it dirty.” 103 likes
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